Pavillon Spéciale

Conceived, created and directed by Matteo Cainer, the Pavillon Spéciale was an annual international architectural series that gave both emerging and experimental architects the opportunity to design and build, with students, a temporary pavilion in the heart of Paris.

The event, which ran for two years, was unique because it not only presented the work of an international architect or design team but was also an on-site design and construction collaboration with students from the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris.

Each year for five months from May to October a different pavilion was sited on the school’s inner garden, transforming it into an international theatre for architectural experimentation. The tight timescale (maximum of 4 months from invitation to completion) allowed for a strong synergy between architecture and education and with a programme of public talks, events, performances, before, during and after construction, it became a contemporary platform for discussion and critical examination of today’s architecture for professionals, students and the city itself.

MCA Pavillon Speciale juryMatteo Cainer with Kjetil Thorsen and Didier Faustino.


The Pavillon Spéciale created an innovative educational program that established a pedagogic bridge between the architectural profession and academia. Once a year students had the opportunity to build, alongside the selected architect, a new pavilion for their garden.

This provided a temporary urban landscape and recreational area all summer long, becoming therefore not only an appointment in the city’s cultural agenda and a destination for visitors but a fulcrum of architectural potential and promise where students, professionals and the wider cultural community could meet and interact.


The selection went through two stages: an initial choice of 45 practices among emerging and experimental architects nominated by an international expert committee in the field of architecture made up of architects, curators, academics and magazine editors.
Subsequently, an International Jury composed of six members who changed at every edition, produced a shortlist of five practices who were then asked to draw up a project.

Jury members included in no specific order:  Benedetta Tagliabue, Ben Van Berkel, Kjetil ThorsenJulia Peyton-JonesIñaki Ábalos, Massimiliano Fuksas, Didier Faustino and Claude Parent among others.


1st Pavillon Spéciale: Cloud 9 / ENRIC RUIZ-GELI
2nd Pavillon Spéciale: Ball Nogues Studio

Pavilion Spéciale
Director and Curator_ 2010-2012


Ecole Spéciale d'Architecture
254 Boulevard Raspail
75014 Paris, France